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Pak vs SL: Nauman Ali’s spin masterclass takes Pakistan to series victory

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Pakistans cricketers celebrate after their teams victory by an innings and 222 runs during the fourth day of the second and final Test match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) Ground in Colombo on July 27, 2023. — AFP
Pakistan’s cricketers celebrate after their team’s victory by an innings and 222 runs during the fourth day of the second and final Test match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) Ground in Colombo on July 27, 2023. — AFP

Nauman Ali’s seven wickets rattled Sri Lanka and helped Pakistan defeat the hosts by an innings and 222 runs in the second Test. 

With the win Pakistan also takes the series 2-0 against the Sri Lanka.

Naseem Shah finally got well-deserved last three wickets as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 188 runs in second innings which handed Pakistan a convincing victory by an innings and 222 runs in Colombo on Thursday.

The right-arm pacer set the tone for Nauman Ali who was brilliant with his spell of 7-70.

Nauman, 36, made a solid comeback following all the criticism and thrashed the batting line of Sri Lanka after they were trailed by 410 runs.

Pakistan declared their first innings at 576-5 soon after Mohammad Rizwan completed his half-century within starting two overs on the fourth day.

Nauman provided an early breakthrough to Pakistan which forced Sri Lanka to go out for Lunch at 81-1. Post-Lunch, Nauman was on song with his spin attack and took five more wickets in no time.

Before Tea, Nauman took all six wickets as Sri Lanka walked out with 143-6 on the scoreboard.

Following Tea, Naseem once again started his hunt for a wicket but it took so long for him to take his first wicket in the innings. Meanwhile, an ‘out’ decision off him was also overturned after which Nauman bagged his seventh to go closer to the world record of bagging all 10 wickets in an innings.

However, Naseem finally struck, and that too in style, picking all the last three wickets in a row.

Experienced Angelo Mathews fought hard for his team as he scored unbeaten 63 runs including seven boundaries and two maximums.

Pakistan’s Rizwan (37*) and Agha Salman (132*) resumed Pakistan’s innings at 563-5 on the fourth day. Rizwan scored quick runs to complete his half-century before Babar Azam called for declaration.

It was Rizwan’s eighth fifty in Test cricket. He replaced Sarfaraz Ahmed as a concussion substitute. Sarfaraz, who was unbeaten on 14, was struck on the helmet on the first ball he faced on the third day. He walked off the field following pain in his head.

Rizwan and Agha scored just 13 runs together on the fourth day to help Pakistan stretch the lead to 410.

Agha was phenomenal on the third day as he scored an unbeaten 132 runs in 148 balls, which included 15 fours and a six. Meanwhile, Abdullah Shafique scored his maiden double-hundred. 

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